Now That the Russia Hoax Is Revealed, Never Trump Is Using Whataboutism to Avoid Responsibility

One of the sillier critiques leveled at people who, after November 8, 2016, refused to go along with reflexive, tribal opposition to President Trump’s election was that they were guilty of “whataboutism.” The idea was, as best as I can tell, that if someone accused President Trump of boffing a porn star and berated you if you weren’t outraged (srsly?) and you asked about their lack of outrage over Mr. Hillary Clinton banging everything that remotely resembled a female, you were guilty of whataboutism. If someone lambasted you for refusing to be outraged over Trump’s business practices or “emoluments clause” problem, and you pointed out the lack of outrage in Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation using the US State Department as fundraising organization, it was whataboutism. For good measure, they managed to show how this was a Russian propaganda technique. I sh** you not. This all showed that you, too, were a witting tool of Vladimir Putin. All snark aside, I think “whataboutism” is supposed to be false equivalence but, in the case of Trump, no one could ever find anything Trump had done that the Clinton’s hadn’t exceeded, so the Never Trump people needed something special.


Now that the biggest political hatchet job in the history of American politics has wound down with the end of the Mueller investigation, a lot of nominal conservatives who shamelessly flogged the obviously bullsh** story of Russia influencing the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump have a lot of explaining to do. Guess what. They’re resorting to whataboutism.

Take this nonsense from NRO’s David French. French, to be charitable, has been a little more pro-Trump than Max Boot, but not much more. This is the guy, you’ll recall, who wanted Devin Nunes recused from the investigation conducted by the committee he chaired because Nunes was convinced, and rightfully so, that the Steele dossier was a fraud and it had been used to justify the FISA warrant on the still unindicted Carter Page.

I want to share a thread about conspiracy theories and the right. In the last few days we’ve seen lots of proper scorn for flawed and overly-credulous reporting on Russiagate and proper scorn for leftist conspiracy theory dot-connecting. You know, “game theory” and all that. 1/
But let’s be clear here. Lots of the people leading that charge are marinating in their own (amazing!) conspiracy theory about the inception of the Russia investigation, the president himself is arguably America’s most famous conspiracy theorist (birther-in-chief), and . . . 2/
Some of these folks also perpetuated one of the most vile conspiracy theories of the whole Trump/Russia affair — the idea that Seth Rich was the true source of the DNC hacks. Fox gave it life. Hannity gave it legs. Newt Gingrich repeated it. These are not minor players. 3/
Think of what they did to the Rich family. Just think about it. At one point, Hannity was even hyping anticipated revelations from some guy named Kim Dotcom. I kid you not. 4/
So what we have now, in many cases, is one set of conspiracy theorists dunking on another set of conspiracy theorists. It’s like moon landing truthers yelling at 9/11 truthers that “fire can melt steel!” while they look for camera reflections in Neil Armstrong’s facemask. 5/
And, by the way, lots and lots of folks on the right who watchdog the MSM’s every flaw didn’t have one damn thing to say about Sean Hannity’s Seth Rich conspiracy theory. Not. One. Damn. Thing. But oh man are they on their high horse now. To hell with that. 6/
But we should remember. We should understand that the (proper!) intolerance for mainstream media mistakes, bias, and conspiracy theories should not blind the very same maladies on the right and in right-wing media. It’s there. It’s right in front of us. And it’s repugnant. /end


French, let no one forget, is one of those conspiracy theorists who pushed just about every anti-Trump story one can imagine. If you want an example of this, try the story in which he said people calling the Russia collusion crap a hoax were engaging in a “conspiracy theory.” Here is Julie Kelly with more:

David French also has been a Russian collusion propagandist, hysterically insisting that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was “evidence that senior members of the Trump campaign tried unsuccessfully to facilitate Russian government efforts to defeat Hillary Clinton.” Commenting on Mueller’s list of questions for the president, French claimed that the line of inquiry “stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder if there were material facts we don’t know.” Without irony, French chided the notion that no collusion existed because “it’s totally fine to get oppo research from a hostile foreign power.”

Perhaps most embarrassing for French was his breathless attempt to legitimize a bogus BuzzFeed report in January 2019 that Donald Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress. Based on innuendo in Cohen’s sentencing memo, French compared the false testimony allegation to those that led to impeachment charges against Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. “It also strongly hints at potential presidential jeopardy for misconduct that has clear echoes in recent presidential scandals,” French wrote. A month later, Cohen denied that Trump told him to lie to Congress.

The fact that he can with, one assumes, a straight face begin to compare the massive amount of media coverage on his favorite conspiracy theory, that being Trump’s collusion with Russia, with the Seth Rich story shows a lack of integrity that is rather galactic in proportions. Here are the numbers:
2017 television coverage of Russia collusion
2018 television coverage of Russia collusion
Over 530,000 news articles
And the coverage has been over 90% negative. Rumors are floated, leaks circulated, and when they are disproven, nothing more is said and the media, aided and abetted by guys like French, went right on to the next scurrilous falsehood.


If you think these two things, the collusion conspiracy theory and the Seth Rich tale, even occupy the same universe, you have a severely warped sense of proportion.

But, if he wants to talk about ruined lives, we can do that. When was the last time he cared about Michael Flynn being forced into bankruptcy? How about Carter Page’s reputation? How about George f***ing Papadapoulos doing prison time for failing to correctly remember the date of a meeting? How about the damage done to America by depriving a lawfully elected president of the first two years of his term? The question is not why more people didn’t denounce the Seth Rich story (quick answer, I don’t have time to search out every bullsh** story floating around and denounce it, the story was bizarre on its face, I don’t know anyone who believed it and I just didn’t, and don’t, give a flying f*** about it) the question is how any sane person could compare the two things.

This is typical of the whole NeverTrump bunch. Never a bad word to say about the left engaging in an obvious smear campaign but ever ready to lecture everyone else on what to think and how to behave. Ooops…my bad, that was whataboutism, wasn’t it?

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